Remember getting dressed for gym class or sports practice in the girl’s locker room at school? When you changed into workout clothes did you casually whip off your pants and shirt bearing all your teenage assets without a second thought? Did you even blush? Or were you the type of girl that knew exactly how to take off her shirt but hang it around her neck just perfectly so it covered your training bra and swap it out for a different shirt? And if you bent down just the right way to put on shorts, no one would see your nether regions, especially if your backside was facing the lockers? I was that type of girl that never liked to be naked in front of other girls. The locker room was when I pulled out my “no one is going to see my boobies” while I change, ninja-style. I was likely ashamed of my body, or just super self conscious. I can chalk all this up to hormones and being an angsty teenager.
So what’s my excuse for doing the same thing in the locker room at the YMCA a few months ago after taking my daughter to swim class?
We had just finished our swim lesson together and were in the shower area. There are two options for showering at this place: the large open communal shower (or prison style, as I lovingly call it) and then there are individual curtained shower stalls. I hurried my daughter into the shower stall, closed the curtain tightly, and undressed us both so we could take a quick shower. After we were done, I wrapped myself first, while my shivering daughter watched me make sure all bits and pieces were officially cloaked in my fluffy beach towel. Then I got her dried off and wrapped a towel around her. We waddled to the dressing room where I managed to slip on my bra and undies and the rest of my outfit without even a hint of a Janet Jackson-like boob exposure. Phew, I was dressed.
And then a few weeks ago that my daughter insisted on us taking a shower in the communal style shower area. And for those of you that know 2.5 year olds and their tempers, it’s often better to give-in to their demands than endure the wrath of a toddler. So I agreed to take a group shower…with all the other mommies and babies. At first I just rinsed off in the shower with my full suit still on. I would pry it away from my body and let some of the water run inside to try and get the chlorine off my skin.
And then….something happened. A light went off in my head. Or rather I just said to myself, “Aw, F*ck It.”I took off my suit confidently and took a normal shower.
It was no big deal. No one was watching me (at least from what I could tell) and who the hell cares? I often spend too much time worrying about what others think of me, especially how I look. Is it vain? Maybe. Is it problematic? Sometimes. Does it really matter what people think of me? No. I was tired of hiding my body and tired of trying to covertly get dressed. I don’t act this way at home, why should I be any different in a locker room? Especially if it’s a locker room full of other mothers and women. And more importantly, I could see my daughter watching me whenever I took my curtained shower. I could see her look inquisitively at me afterwards as I stealthfully wrapped my towel around myself and got dressed at the same time. I just decided I no longer wanted her to see me being insecure. So I did it for her. And I did it for myself. I showered…naked.